Sunday, April 11, 2010

April Snow Makes for Really Green Grass

I think daffodils are my favorite spring flower - thanks to my Grandmother - she loved them too

These species crocus never come true to color in pictures
The PRO-GROW mat and the thermostat that controls the temperature

The hoop house crops, newly seeded above, seeded last fall below

House finch damage to my apple buds

This week we had snow - almost 4 inches. However, we live close to the bay of Green Bay and the water moderated the snow fall. Less than a mile up the road they got much more snow. Ours was enough to bend the daffodils to the ground and cause me to take the fig tree back into the garage. But that was back on Wednesday and all of that is gone and the grass looks great from all the moisture. My daffodils made a great show for Easter and I have some early species tulips starting to bloom now also.

My old heat mats have been retired and a new six foot thermostatically controlled mat is now in use. I have been thinking about getting one for some time and finally I decided, after two of the four old mats would not heat, that the time had arrived. I got a PRO-GROW propagating mat made in Brookfield, Wisconsin, but had to buy it from another source. So far the seeded flats are warm and I am waiting on parsley and tomatoes to sprout. I started peppers on the old mats but had mixed success so I am hoping that the tomatoes and other seeds that I will be starting in the next weeks will be better. Propagation mats are a good way to start those seeds that need warm conditions for optimum sprouting. My marigolds were up in four days on the heat mat.

Outside in the garden spring is moving along. The greens in the hoop house are looking good. Most of the seed planted several weeks ago is up and the fall planted spinach is getting close to first harvest. With the snow this week, we had strong winds after the low pressure system went through, and the plastic of the hoop house was tossed around a bit. I have hopes of making a new house this summer as I recently found out that a friend has access to a pipe bender - the hoop house dream tool. The current house is made of lumber and sags a bit when snow builds up on the roof. I have read that people who use plastic pipe have a snow load problem too so with access to a pipe bender I hope to make a metal hoop house. Time and $$$ will tell.

I planted onions and shallots today. I had seeded shallots last summer but the crop did not do too well. They grew well but had no size to them so I harvested them last fall and stored them in the basement all winter. I planted three or four dozen today with hopes of a much better crop. I also planted some small red onions that I had stored also, so we will see what matures. I have seeded onions growing in a flat in the green house for planting out later this month. I also planted some daikon radishes. I used the same method I use with parsnips - I make a nice cone in the soil, filled with potting mix and planted the radish seed. With a ready made root run, the daikon should be nice. The cuttings I started the last blog entry are just about ready to transplant. The spider plants are ready today. I will move the cuttings into two inch pots and grow them until they are ready for four or five inch pots in about a month or more.

The apples are budding and the house finches are back at my flower buds. The pictures show just what those little purple pests do to apple buds. So much for those pesky invasives.
Happy Gardening


  1. Are heat mats and propagation mats the same?

  2. Hi Anon,
    Yes, propagation mats are the trade name but most of us think of them as heat mats. However, not the heating mats that you use to help your sore back; those should never be used to start seedlings as electricity and water don't mix well.
    Happy Gardening